“REVENGE PORN” LEGISLATION PASSES LEGISLATURE
PROTECTS VICTIMS OF ABUSIVE CYBER-POSTING OF INTIMATE IMAGES
On February 25th, Nassau County Legislators passed bi-partisan legislation to protect victims from vengeful acts of bullying, harassment and/or coercion in the form of “revenge porn.” Acts of revenge porn are defined typically as the posting or sharing of intimate images over the internet, through social media channels or other electronic means. It is a violation of the law for someone who has been given the image by the victim to disclose or threaten to disclose the image with the “intent to cause material harm to the physical, mental, emotional or financial welfare” of the victim.
“Smart phones and social media have made it easier than ever to photograph or videotape intimate moments that were never intended for public viewing,” Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello said. “Too many people have been hurt by acts of vengeance, and too many people have not felt any consequences for ruining someone else’s life. This legislation changes that.” The legislation would classify these vengeful acts as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 or up to a year in jail.
Malicious distribution of nude or graphic images has serious ramifications for victims, emotional distress, isolation, cyberbullying as a result of displayed revenge porn, and even suicide. Additionally, many victims are resistant to come forward out of embarrassment and fear. It is estimated that women are twice as likely to be victimized by revenge porn, and the displaying of intimate images is a tool employed by domestic abusers to control their victims.